New cases of influenza discovered by CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on August 3, 2012, that 12 new cases of A(H3N2)v influenza had been identified in Hawaii, Ohio, and Indiana, and that the strain contains the same M gene from the human 2009 H1N1 virus. Acquiring the gene may be allowing H3N2v viruses to be more easily transmitted from pigs to people and from person-to-person.

The CDC said the discovery adds to the 17 previously reported cases of the strain since July 2011, and that 19 of the 29 cases are connected to fairs with swine. Three people with existing high risk conditions that have been diagnosed with A(H3N2)v have been hospitalized since July 2011. All 29 cases have fully recovered.

The CDC states, "Children younger than 5 years, people 65 years and older, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic medical conditions (like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune systems, and neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions) are at high risk from serious complications if they get influenza. These people should consider avoiding exposure to pigs and swine barns this summer, especially if sick pigs have been identified."

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports the influenza viruses have not been shown to be transmitted to people through eating properly handled and prepared pork or other products from pigs.

The CDC urged people raising swine, showing swine at fairs, or attending fairs to take the necessary steps to stop the spread of the disease, which includes:

-Wash hands frequently
-Don't eat or drink around animals
-Those with weak immune systems should be extra cautious
-If you own animals and swine, be aware of the symptoms of swine flu
-Avoid close contact with sick animals
-Avoid contact with pigs if you have flu symptoms

If it is necessary to come in contact with pigs that are sick or while a person is sick, be sure to wear protective clothing, gloves, masks, and other safety products, and practice good hand and respiratory hygiene. 

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